I am a fan of doing more than one thing at a time.  There are so many things to do...and only 24 hours in a day to do them all.  In fact, I seem to be unable to just do one thing at a time...if I only have one thing to accomplish, I'll procrastinate until there is something else in relatively the same category.  Of course, there are times when I am doing several things at once, and I don't know whether I'm coming or going.  But I guess in the end it doesn't really matter if I eventually do what I needed to do and/or arrive in the place I wanted to be.

Legacy Garden at the
Guilford County Extension Center



I've got a few minutes here before I head to the Extension Center...where that photo (right) of the Legacy Garden was taken.  I'm prepping for my first Master Gardener Volunteer presentation tomorrow night and need to make some copies of handouts, retrieve the Speakers' Bureau laptop, etc.  Soooo, figuring that I had to make that l-o-n-g trek to the other side of the county anyway, I signed up for the afternoon shift on the Infoline for today.  Trying to make all those miles count twice, you see.  [You have seen the current price of gasoline, right?]

Culinary Herbs Display:
Herb Jar on right; Herb Fountain on left
 I'm scheduled to give the Culinary Herbs presentation at the High Point Library...and I'm really excited about the opportunity.  I think I told you that I made a display (photo, left) for the Passalong Plant Sale we had last week on that very same subject.  Killing two basils with one stone, you might say.  Multitasking, by any other name.  And, while I'm not an expert on herbs by any stretch of the imagination, one of the other MG volunteers who will be there is.  Many of the photos used in the PowerPoint are from his garden, so if any questions arise that I can't cover, I can hand those off to Maliq, I'm sure. 

To gain as much experience as I can on the subject of culinary herbs, I've planted several varieties along the center-path border in our Way Back garden (sage, parsley, stevia, dill) and in pots and containers all over the place (rosemary, lavender, dill, mints, lemon balm, chives, thyme, oregano).  I've done an Herb Jar (using a strawberry jar; on right, in the photo above/left, ) and an Herb Fountain (on left, in the photo above/left), using an idea from P.Allen Smith (love. him. ...:).  [It's not really a "fountain," with water flowing; it's made by using a large pot as the base, then adding one or more smaller pots in a stack...and filling them with herbs).]  I've got pots of mint and basil on the deck...and sprigs of mint and basil rooting on the kitchen windowsill.  Herbs, herbs, everywhere!

I'm stretching my own recipe file to include dishes made with herbs, which are a healthy alternative to other seasonings that are high in sodium or sugar.  Mint goes in nearly every cup of hot tea...and about half of the glasses of iced tea that come out of the kitchen.  I add fresh herbs to almost all my egg dishes (omelets...quiches...frittatas) as well as roasted chicken and vegetables (that's what's on the menu for tonight...:).  In order to have some recipe cards available for the Culinary Herbs presentation, I tried several new recipes (multitasking...again), including one for a great Italian Herb Bread* recipe (see below)'s definitely a keeper! 

I'm also exploring the many ways to use herbs as companion plants...making them into multitaskers, as it were.  Basil and dill with tomatoes; parsley with carrots; and nasturtiums (didn't know they were herbs?  Think again!) with squash, cukes, and melons.  Insects are often repelled by the intense fragrances that are characteristic of herbs, so interplanting them with vegetables can be an organic, as well as edible, approach to controlling pests.  The hardest part of this idea?  Keeping Mr. T from weed-whacking the herbs...!  We are both learning new things here.

Before I close this post, I thought I'd add a bit about Mom.  I know that many of you come here to hear how she is doing, and I wish I could always have a positive comment for you to read.  That's becoming quite a challenge, and I struggle to find the words.  We are finding it increasingly difficult to adequately manage her pain with meds-by-mouth, so we know that we will soon be entering new territory with the alternative (IV-medication).  I'll keep you posted.

Time to close for today.  Hope you have a great week...wherever you are!


Italian Herb Bread

Makes 2 loaves


1 rounded Tablespoon dry yeast (1 1/2 packages)
2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees F)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (can be mixed with grated Romano cheese)


Mix yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, and sugar together in a large mixing cup. Set aside for five minutes, or until mixture becomes foamy and doubles in volume.

Mix the olive oil, salt, herbs, garlic powder, onion powder, cheese, 1 1/2 cups water, and 3 cups flour in a large mixing bowl; add in the yeast mixture. Gradually mix in two to three additional cups of flour. Dough will be stiff. Knead for 5 to 10 minutes (I use the dough-hook on my mixer), or until it is smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, turning to cover top and sides with oil.

Cover with a damp linen towel, or plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour, or until dough has doubled.

Punch down to release all the air. Shape into two loaves. Place loaves on a greased cookie sheet, or into two 9x5 inch, greased pans. Allow to rise for 1/2 hour again, until doubled, in a warm place.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove loaves from pans and let cool on wire racks for at least 15 minutes, before slicing. Great dipped in olive oil with cracked pepper. Enjoy!


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